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  • André Alexis
  • Michael Anthony: Author and Historian

Alexis is a novelist, playwright and short-story writer currently living in Toronto, Ontario. He was born in Trinidad but migrated as a child to Canada with his family. His first published work of fiction, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa, was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, published in 1997, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and was a co-winner of the Trillium Award. Childhood was also short-listed for Canada’s most lucrative literary award, The Giller Prize, and received a variety of other accolades from both national and international sources.

In addition to his writing, Alexis is a member of the editorial board of This Magazine. He is also playwright-in-residence at the Canadian Stage Company. Alexis was awarded a NALIS Lifetime Literacy Achievement Award in 2012. 

Michael Anthony was born in Mayaro in 1930. He attended Mayaro R.C. School and from 1941 to 1942 spent a year at school in San Fernando. This turned out to be the inspiration for his novel The Year in San Fernando. By 1944, young Anthony won a bursary to attend the San Fernando Technical School. Two years after he began an internship at Trinidad Leaseholds Ltd. (also known as Texaco Inc). He trained as a moulder and worked in the iron foundry until he left for England. Anthony wrote some light verses for the Trinidad Guardian.  He also wrote stories for the Barbadian literary magazine B.I.M. In 1954, he left for England. There, he worked in factories but he also found time for his literary pursuits contributing to ‘Caribbean Voices’, a literary feature of BBC’s ‘Calling the Caribbean’ programme. Unfortunately, Anthony and many other young authors were left stranded when this programme was taken off the air.

Later, Anthony responded to an advertisement by Hutchinson’s Publishing Company calling for young writers to submit stories. The publishers advised Michael Anthony to attempt a full-length novel. In 1963, Anthony published The Games Were Coming which was published by Andre Deutsch. The Year in San Fernando was published a couple years after the first novel.

Anthony returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1970. He was closely associated with the National Cultural Council started by the late Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams in 1971 and supervised by the late anthropologist Dr. J.D. Elder.

In 1979, Anthony was presented with Trinidad and Tobago’s Humming Bird Gold Medal for his contributions. He has produced 31 books to date, including the novel All that Glitters which was a One Book One Community choice in 2009 by the National Library of Trinidad & Tobago.

In 2003, Anthony was conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine for his contribution to literature in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. Anthonty was awarded a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award in 2012.

Source: Michael Anthony: The Writer and His Work. Booklet published by E.T.U. Education Television Unit.

Source: Deen, Shamshu. Michael Anthony: A Giant Among Us. 13th. July, 2004.


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MICHAEL ANTHONY'S WORK

Novels:

The Games Were Coming - London, Deutsch, 1963

The Year in San Fernando - London, Deutsch, 1965

Green Days by the River - London, Deutsch, 1967

Streets of Conflict - London, 1976

All That Glitters - London, Deutsch, 1981

Bright Road to El Dorado - Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, Nelson, 1982

The Becket Factor - London, Collins, 1990

In the Heat of the Day - Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1996

High Tide of Intrigue - Heinemann, 2001


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Short Stories: 

Sandra Street and other stories - London, Heinemann Secondary Readers, 1973

Cricket in the Road - London, Deutsch, 1973

Folk Tales and Fantasies - Port-of-Spain, Columbus, 1976

The Chieftain's Carnival and Other Stories - London, Longman, 1993

He has contributed to many anthologies and journals including: Caribbean Prose; Island Voices-Stories from the Caribbean; Response; The Sun's Eyes; West Indian Narrative; BIM; The Bajan.


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General: 

Glimpses of Trinidad and Tobago: with a glance at the West Indies - Port of Spain, Columbus Publishers, 1974

Profile Trinidad: A Historical Survey from the Discovery to 1900 - London, Macmillan, 1975

Editor, with Andrew Carr, David Frost Introduces Trinidad and Tobago - London, Deutsch, 1975

Folk Tales and Fantasies - Port of Spain: Columbus Publishers, 1976

The Making of Port-of-Spain 1757-1939 - Port-of-Spain, Key Caribbean, 1978

First in Trinidad - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1985

Heroes of the People of Trinidad and Tobago - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1986

The History of Aviation in Trinidad and Tobago 1913-1962 - Port-of-Spain, Paria, 1987

A Better and Brighter Day - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1987

Towns and Villages of Trinidad and Tobago - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1988

Parade of the Carnivals of Trinidad 1839-1989 - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1989

The Golden Quest: The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus - London, Macmillan Caribbean, 1992

Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago - Lanham, Maryland, Scarecrow Press, 1997


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Awards: 

The Arts Council of Great Britain 1967 Fellowship

T&T's Hummingbird Gold Medal - 1979

NALIS Lifetime Literary Award - 2012
 


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BIOGRAPHIES A-C

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  • André Alexis: Author
  • Michael Anthony: Author and Historian
  • Robert Antoni
  • Wayne Berkeley (1940-2011)
  • Kent Bernard: Athletics
  • Neil Bissondath: Author
  • Ato Boldon: Athletics
  • Colin Bootman
  • George Bovell III: Swimming
  • Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler (1897-1977)
  • Dr. Rudranath Capildeo (1920-1970)
  • President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona
  • Jennifer Cassar: The Carib Queen
  • George Chambers
  • Carlisle Chang (1921-2001)
  • Willi Chen
  • Arthur Andrew Cipriani (1875-1945)
  • Ellis Clarke (1917-2010)
  • Leroy Clarke
  • Lord Constantine (Learie Constantine)
  • Hasley Crawford: Athletics

Alexis is a novelist, playwright and short-story writer currently living in Toronto, Ontario. He was born in Trinidad but migrated as a child to Canada with his family. His first published work of fiction, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa, was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, published in 1997, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and was a co-winner of the Trillium Award. Childhood was also short-listed for Canada’s most lucrative literary award, The Giller Prize, and received a variety of other accolades from both national and international sources.

In addition to his writing, Alexis is a member of the editorial board of This Magazine. He is also playwright-in-residence at the Canadian Stage Company. Alexis was awarded a NALIS Lifetime Literacy Achievement Award in 2012.
 

Michael Anthony was born in Mayaro in 1930. He attended Mayaro R.C. School and from 1941 to 1942 spent a year at school in San Fernando. This turned out to be the inspiration for his novel The Year in San Fernando. By 1944, young Anthony won a bursary to attend the San Fernando Technical School. Two years after he began an internship at Trinidad Leaseholds Ltd. (also known as Texaco Inc). He trained as a moulder and worked in the iron foundry until he left for England. Anthony wrote some light verses for the Trinidad Guardian.  He also wrote stories for the Barbadian literary magazine B.I.M. In 1954, he left for England. There, he worked in factories but he also found time for his literary pursuits contributing to ‘Caribbean Voices’, a literary feature of BBC’s ‘Calling the Caribbean’ programme .  Unfortunately, Anthony and many other young authors were left stranded when this programme was taken off the air.

Later, Anthony responded to an advertisement by Hutchinson’s Publishing Company calling for young writers to submit stories. The publishers advised Michael Anthony to attempt a full-length novel. In 1963, Anthony published The Games Were Coming which was published by Andre Deutsch. The Year in San Fernando was published a couple years after the first novel.

Anthony returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1970. He was closely associated with the National Cultural Council started by the late Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams in 1971 and supervised by the late anthropologist Dr. J.D. Elder.

In 1979, Anthony was presented with Trinidad and Tobago’s Humming Bird Gold Medal for his contributions. He has produced 31 books to date, including the novel All that Glitters which was a One Book One Community choice in 2009 by the National Library of Trinidad & Tobago.

In 2003, Anthony was conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine for his contribution to literature in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. Anthonty was awarded a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award in 2012.

Source: Michael Anthony: The Writer and His Work. Booklet published by E.T.U. Education Television Unit.

Source: Deen, Shamshu. Michael Anthony: A Giant Among Us. 13th. July, 2004.


MICHAEL ANTHONY'S WORK

Novels:

The Games Were Coming - London, Deutsch, 1963

The Year in San Fernando - London, Deutsch, 1965

Green Days by the River - London, Deutsch, 1967

Streets of Conflict - London, 1976

All That Glitters - London, Deutsch, 1981

Bright Road to El Dorado - Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, Nelson, 1982

The Becket Factor - London, Collins, 1990

In the Heat of the Day - Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1996

High Tide of Intrigue – Heinemann, 2001


Short Stories:

Sandra Street and other stories - London, Heinemann Secondary Readers, 1973

Cricket in the Road - London, Deutsch, 1973

Folk Tales and Fantasies - Port-of-Spain, Columbus, 1976

The Chieftain's Carnival and Other Stories - London, Longman, 1993

He has contributed to many anthologies and journals including: Caribbean Prose; Island Voices-Stories from the Caribbean; Response; The Sun's Eyes; West Indian Narrative; BIM; The Bajan.


General:

Glimpses of Trinidad and Tobago: with a glance at the West Indies - Port of Spain, Columbus Publishers, 1974

Profile Trinidad: A Historical Survey from the Discovery to 1900 - London, Macmillan, 1975

Editor, with Andrew Carr, David Frost Introduces Trinidad and Tobago -London, Deutsch, 1975

Folk Tales and Fantasies - Port of Spain: Columbus Publishers, 1976

The Making of Port-of-Spain 1757-1939 - Port-of-Spain, Key Caribbean, 1978

First in Trinidad - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1985

Heroes of the People of Trinidad and Tobago - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1986

The History of Aviation in Trinidad and Tobago 1913-1962 - Port-of-Spain, Paria, 1987

A Better and Brighter Day - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1987

Towns and Villages of Trinidad and Tobago - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1988

Parade of the Carnivals of Trinidad 1839-1989 - Port-of-Spain, Circle Press, 1989

The Golden Quest: The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus - London, Macmillan Caribbean, 1992

Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago - Lanham, Maryland, Scarecrow Press, 1997


Awards:

The Arts Council of Great Britain 1967 Fellowship

T&T's Hummingbird Gold Medal - 1979

NALIS Lifetime Literary Award - 201

Antoni was born in the United States to Trinidadian parents and largely grew up in the Bahamas. He is a former Associate Professor of Caribbean Literature at the University of Miami and Associate Director of the Caribbean Writer’s Summer Institute.  Antoni was awarded the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize for First Novel. His short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Conjuctions and other periodicals, as well as anthologies such as The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories. His short story "My Grandmother's Tale of How Crab-o Lost His Head" was awarded the 1999 Aga Khan Prize for Fiction by The Paris Review.

His most recent novel, Carnival, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize.  Antoni was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010 and he currently teaches currently teaches fiction writing at Columbia University, New York. Antoni was honoured with a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award in 2012.

Wayne Berkeley was born in Belmont, Trinidad in 1940. He was educated at St. Mary’s College, Port-of-Spain. While at St. Mary’s College, Berkeley was involved in extra-curricular activities such as teaching art and participating in the Debate Society and the Drama Club. It was the Drama Club that gave young Berkeley the opportunity to tap into his creativity. He designed backdrops for various Shakespearean plays at St. Mary’s, as well as for concerts and plays by Belmont’s Catholic Youth Organization. During this time, Berkeley also attended art classes by one of Trinidad’s renowned artists, Mahmoud Pharouk Alladin.

Berkeley’s interest in the arts encompasses a broad spectrum. He has involved himself in various aspects of art and design, such as fashion designing, carnival costume design and production, displays, art exhibitions, pavilion displays, trade shows, motion picture productions, props, art and crafts, interior designs, architectural designing and live stage show presentations. Berkeley is mostly well-known for his unique and original approach to costume design. In his Carnival designs, Berkeley tries to portray and represent ‘that which cannot be represented’ – the spirit of Carnival.

Perhaps the most important part of Berkeley’s work is that he has developed his own approach to art. He strives to maintain his originality and believes that it is important for artists not to copy other people’s work. In his early years in the industry, some of Berkeley’s Carnival designs had been criticized as ‘entering into a realm not of Carnival’. However, he continued to challenge the ‘history book syndrome’ that carnival costumes of that time had, and was persistent in his creation of fantasy costumes. Berkeley maintains that Carnival costume designing is just like poetry or storytelling. He incorporates a theme that finds its basis in an actual incident or a series of incidents that are typical of human nature. In this way, Berkeley appeals and connects to masqueraders of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities. As a result, Berkeley’s Carnival designs changed the face of Carnival and today many of his costume design concepts have become the norm.

On February 17, 2000, Berkeley suffered a severe stroke, which he did not allow to hinder his accomplishments. Instead, he began to draw with his left-hand. His designs have been acclaimed both nationally and internationally and he is considered to be one of the greatest designers in Carnival costuming.

Wayne Berkeley passed away in June 2011 at the age of 70.

Born on May 27, 1942, Kent Bernard blossomed in the field of athletics when he won the Victor Ludorum at the Belmont Intermediate School in 1959 and 1960.

He then became a member of the Burnley Athletics School under the watchful eyes of coach George Clarke. From Trinidad, he obtained an athletic scholarship to Michigan State University and represented his University with such a degree of success that he was selected to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan.

Bernard was a member of the bronze medal relay team at these Games. In 1966 he won silver and gold in the 440 yards and 4x440 yards events respectively at the Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica.

At the commonwealth Games in 1970, he picked up silver in the 4x400 metres event in Edinburgh, Scotland; and ended his athletic career with bronze in the 4x400 metres at the Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia.

See more information on Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic Medalists

Bissoondath, born in Arima, Trinidad in 1955, is currently a professor of creative writing at Université Laval in Québec City. In 1986, Bissoondath won both the McClelland and Stewart Award and the National Magazine Award for the fiction short-story “Dancing”. In 1993, his novel The innocence of Age won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. Subsequently, his novel The Worlds Within Her was nominated for the 1999 Governor General's Literary Award and was a finalist for the Quebec Writers Federation Hugh MacLennan Award for Fiction.

Bissoondath was the 2002 winner of the Hugh MacLennan Award for Fiction for the novel Doing the Heart Good.

In recognition of his literary successes, Bissoondath has received honorary doctorates from York University and l’Université de Moncton, and in 2010 he was made a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec. In 2012 he was awarded the NALIS Lifetime Literary Achievement Award.

1973: Ato is born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, to Guy and Hope Boldon.

1980: Ato's younger brother Okera is born.

1988: He leaves Trinidad for New York, where, while playing soccer, he is discovered by head track coach Joe Trupiano at Jamaica High School in Queens.

1989: Competes in his first track season, recording times of 10.83, 21.44 and 48.52 for 100, 200 and 400 meters, respectively.

1990: Moves to San Jose, California, where he becomes an All-State forward in soccer at Piedmont Hills High. It is the last time he plays organized soccer.

1991: He improves to 10.57 and 21.07 in this his senior year, finishing 3rd at the California State High School Championships at 200 meters.

1992: After his Olympic debut in Barcelona, Ato returns from the World Junior Championships in Seoul, South Korea with 2 gold medals and some history. No one previously had won both the 100 and 200 meters at these Championships. The world's press heralds him as "The One to Watch" for the future. Ato records a 10.22 second best for 100 meters by the year's end.

1995: After winning the NCAA 200m title for UCLA, Ato surpasses Carl Lewis as the youngest-ever medalist in a World Championship 100 metre dash, at 21, taking bronze in 10.03 seconds. His 200 meters improves to 20.08 seconds.

1996: Ato sets the world lead early, with a 9.93 in April. Next, he sets a meet record in the NCAA 100m Championships with a 9.92, in June.

Then, in his second Olympic performance, Ato becomes a double-medalist, taking bronze in two world-record breaking races, the 100 and 200 metre dashes. He records 9.90 seconds for the 100 meters and 19.80 seconds for 200 meters, becoming one of only six men to ever run under 10 for 100 meters and under 20 for 200 meters. That 9.90 is still the collegiate record.

1997: After succumbing to injury in the 100m final at the World Championships, Ato returns 4 days later to win his first World Title in the 200 metre dash. It his country's first track gold medal in 21 years. He improves his times to 9.87 and 19.77, putting him in history's top 5 ever in both events.

2000: Ato takes silver (9.99 seconds) in the men's 100 metre sprint at the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He takes bronze (20.20 seconds) in the men's 200 metre race.
 

See more information on Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic medalists

Colin Bootman was born in Trinidad where he spent the first seven years of his life. During this time, he was inspired by the island’s rich and diverse culture. Soon after moving to the United States, Mr. Bootman embraced art as a measure of escape from the pressures of adjusting to a new environment at an early age. Mr. Bootman cites finding his first comic book as the life-changing experience that marked the beginning of his career as an artist.

Mr. Bootman began formal training at LaGuardia High School of the Arts, which served to deepen his appreciation for other disciplines, and solidified his own passion for the visual arts. In college, Mr. Bootman studied photography, writing and illustration, honing his skills under the tutelage of professional artists. Mr. Bootman was encouraged to pursue children’s book art, as it allowed him the freedom to express himself through various media. Ultimately, the instructors at the School of Visual Arts prepared Mr. Bootman for the challenges of working as a professional illustrator.

Mr. Bootman’s first book, Young Frederick Douglass, was published in 1994 and received starred reviews. He has since illustrated many children’s books, textbooks, periodicals, and book covers. Mr. Bootman has worked with several publishers including Random House (Follow the Leader), Harper Collins (In My Momma’s Kitchen), Scholastic (Oh, No, Toto!), and Holiday House (Papa’s Mark). Mr. Bootman is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor 2004, the Schneider Family Book Award 2006, the Ashley Bryan Lifetime Achievement Honor 2006, and several others. His books have won such awards as The Teachers’ Choice Award, The Comstock Award, The Storytelling World Award, The Golden Kite Honor, and many others. Mr. Bootman’s first written and illustrated book (Fish For The Grand Lady) debuted in the fall of 2006. In addition to illustrating, Mr. Bootman enjoys teaching and presenting to students throughout the country.

Mr. Bootman credits the lively rhythms and vibrant palette of Trinidad with leaving an indelible mark on his creative expression. He continues to grow as an artist as he welcomes the challenges that each new project invites. As Mr. Bootman’s work serves to inspire both early readers and future artists alike, he hopes to encourage young minds to embrace and follow their passions.


REVIEWS

School Library Journal – November 2009

BOOTMAN, Colin. The Steel Pan Man of Harlem. illus. by author. unpaged. CIP. Carolrhoda. Nov. 2009. ISBN 978-0-8225-9026-2. LC 2008039654.

In this variation of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," Bootman celebrates the infectious music produced by Caribbean steel pans and the lively street life of Harlem in the first half of the 20th century, and provides a timeless lesson about the value of keeping a promise. Harlem is plagued by rats, and a stranger comes to deliver the community from the infestation. He carries an instrument no one has heard before and plays a beguiling melody. He strikes a deal with the mayor, deports the vermin on a garbage barge, and requests his payment. When the mayor refuses, rather than leading the children out of the city, the stranger sets everyone dancing, including the mayor, and they can't stop. The desperate official hands over the promised million dollars and dances out of sight, never to return. Bootman's full-color paintings are full of life and his steel pan man has quite a gleam in his eye. A great way to revitalize a well-known tale.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY

Library Media Connection – November/December 2009

Bootman, Colin
The Steel Pan Man of Harlem 2009. 32pp. Carolrhoda Books (Lerner Publishing Group). 978-0-8225-9026-2.

In this retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, rats have invaded 1940s Harlem. A stranger appears who plays captivating melodies on a steel pan drum. He tells the mayor that he can solve the city’s problem, and plays a melody that drives away the rats. But when the mayor refuses to pay him the agreed upon price, the man plays another tune to drive away the mayor. While putting his own spin on the tale, the author/illustrator keeps the message of the classic story: “the importance of doing the right thing and keeping one’s word.” The book will work well in a unit comparing versions of folk and fairy tales. The rich and beautifully rendered oil paintings provide the feel of the Harlem Renaissance. An author’s note provides brief background information about the steel pan drum and the choice of Harlem as the book’s setting. This book should be of particular interest to those desiring a quality addition to their variant folk literature collection. Recommended. Michele Turner, Assistant Library Media specialist, LaSalle High School, Cincinnati, Ohio

Publishers Weekly – November 9, 2009

The Steel Pan Man of Harlem Colin Bootman. Carolrhoda, (32p) ISBN 978-0-8225-9026-2

Bootman (Fish for the Grand Lady) triumphs with this gorgeously moody, thoroughly cinematic retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, ingeniously set during the Harlem Renaissance and starring a mysterious musician from the Caribbean (who, it should be noted, has more than a passing resemblance to Laurence Fishburne). The oil paintings conjure up a gritty, workaday world where magic has taken hold: the vermin do cannonballs into bathtubs, and straphangers at the 125½ Street subway platform are suddenly transformed into feverish Lindy Hoppers when the stranger begins to play his steel pan (“He held the sticks in the air, closed his eyes, and began playing the sweetest melody anyone had ever heard”). With text that beautifully embellishes the pictures, and a far happier and more politically relevant ending than the original (after Harlem’s white mayor reneges on his promise to pay the musician for driving out the rats, he’s seen fox-trotting out of town, never to be seen again), this book has all the makings of a spellbinder.

Star Tribune – November 27, 2009

"The Steel Pan Man of Harlem" (Carolrhoda Books) written and illustrated by Colin Bootman.

In this inventive retelling of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," author and illustrator Bootman sets the story near the 125 1/2th Street subway station during the days of the Harlem Renaissance. There, a mysterious stranger with a steel drum sets up temporary residence, playing melodies that make everyone dance as if in a trance. Bootman chooses a palette of nighttime blues and greens that give a sinister feel to some of the pages, but he smartly lightens up the dark legend by removing only the rats and a rat-like mayor from the final scenes.

 


Courtesy: Colin Bootman

Born July 18, 1983 into a family of high-achieving athletes, the six-foot-five swimmer was blessed with the right gene pool from which to splash to his world-beating swimming exploits. His father, George II, was a top regional and successful university level swimmer, his mother Barbara ran in the 400 metres final for Barbados back in the 1972 Munich Olympics and his younger brother Nicholas has been a Carifta and regional standout in swimming.

Bovell's career climaxed with his world-record swim at the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) men’s swimming and diving championships in Long Island in March 2004, when he smashed the 200-metre IM world record by nearly a second, in a very fast 1:53.93. That performance was a near-perfect exhibition of his superb, effortless, yet efficient technique, as he glided over the water to victory, leaving his competitors floundering helplessly in his slipstream.

Despite the lofty pace of his accomplishments in the pool, having won four medals at last year’s Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo and also currently holding 46 Trinidad and Tobago record, Bovell is humble and laid-back. This humility, a trait that dates back to his pre-world-class swimming days, has endeared him to the T&T public and to his competitors. It, however, has not prevented him from maintaining his focus and determination to swim in those uncharted waters where no Trinidad and Tobago swimmer has swum before.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 2004 Bronze medal and world, NCAA, and US open records, 200-metre IM, NCAA Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships, Long Island, New York
  • 2003 Gold medals, 200-metre freestyle and 200-metre IM; silver medals, 100-metre freestyle and 100-metre back, Pan Am Games, Santo Domingo
  • 2003 Gold medal and NCAA and US open record, 200-yard IM, NCAA Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships, Texas

See more information on Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic medalists

Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler was born in 1897 in Grenada where he received his primary education. During the First World War, he served in the British West Indian Regiment, under Captain Arthur Cipriani. Like most of his fellow soldiers, he idolized Cipriani. He returned to Grenada after the war, but moved to Trinidad in 1921, attracted by the flourishing oil industry with its plentiful jobs and relatively high wages. In 1929, he was injured in an industrial accident that left him permanently lame.

Butler himself, a member of the working class, embraced the labour movement and its cause wholeheartedly, joining Cipriani’s Trinidad Labour Party but leaving it in 1936 because he found it too moderate. In 1935, he led a 60 mile hunger march from the oil belt to Port-of-Spain, to highlight the workers’ demands; this was considered a direct challenge to Cipriani who advocated more constitutional methods of protest.

In 1936, Butler formed his own party, the British Empire Workers and Citizen Home Rule Party (BEWCHRP) and in 1937 organized a sitdown strike that was to prove a catalyst for the development of the labour movement in years to come. The demonstration was a peaceful one until the police tried to arrest Butler, sparking off a riot in which fourteen (14) people were killed and fifty-nine (59) injured. He was tried, convicted of sedition and sentenced to two (2) years in prison.

After engineering another strike in 1941, Butler was again imprisoned from 1941-1945, since the government regarded his disruption of oil production as a threat to the British War effort. In 1946, he called a general strike, and his supporters stormed the Red House. He was eventually expelled from the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), a trade union organized in his absence by his second in command, Adrian Cola Rienzi.

Butler served on the Legislative Council from 1950-1961; he ran unsuccessfully for the Federal Elections in 1958 and again for the General Election in 1961. In 1970, the nation honoured Butler with the Trinity Cross. He died in 1977.


Source:

  • Anthony, Michael. Heroes of the People of Trinidad and Tobago. St. James.

  • Anthony, Michael. Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. London: The Scarecrow Press, 1977. 81-84.

Classified as a genius, he was born in 1920 to Pundit Capildeo and his wife Soogee (from the Chaguanas Promenade area), and grew up in the Lion House Chaguanas. He was educated at Queen’s Royal College in Port-of-Spain where he won an island scholarship in 1938. In 1943, Dr. Capildeo attended the University of London where he obtained a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics, a M.Sc. in Mathematics in 1945 and also his Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics in 1948. He was a Trinidadian politician and mathematician. This distinguished gentleman was the Leader of the Democratic Labour Party from 1960-1969 and the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament from 1961-1963. He was a world renowned figure and a man of amazing vision.

In 1969, he was awarded the Trinity Cross. He died on the 12th May 1970.

Some other famous members of the Capildeo family:

  • Simbhoonath Capildeo (eldest brother) - Lawyer and Member of Parliament, Chaconia Gold Medal awardee

  • Surendranath Capildeo (nephew) - Senator, Lawyer, President of Paschim Kaashi, The Port-of-Spain Hindu Mandir

  • Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (nephew) - Scholarship-winner, Nobel Laureate for Literature and Trinity Cross awardee

For additional information, please check your nearest public library or visit the Heritage Library (2nd floor) of the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago, for the following:

  • De Verteuil, Anthony. Eight East Indian immigrants: Gokool, Soodeen, Sookoo, Capildeo, Beccani, Ruknaddeen, Valiama, Bunsee. Newtown, Port of Spain, Trinidad, W.I.: Paria Pub. Co., 1989.

  • Lee Young, Joycelyn. Caribbean icons in science, technology & innovation. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: NIHERST, c2005.

  • Siewah, Samaroo (ed). Lotus and the dagger: the Capildeo speeches (1957-1994). Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago: Chakra Publishing House (Caribbean), 1994.


Online source of information:

“Rudranath Capildeo – Mathematician”. Caribbean Icons in science, technology and innovation. N.d. Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST). 10 May 2010

PRESIDENT ANTHONY THOMAS AQUINAS CARMONA

Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona was born in Fyzabad on March 7, 1953. A Roman Catholic, he is married to Reema Carmona, and is a father of two.

Carmona attended Presentation College, San Fernando. He holds degrees in: English (special honours) and international law and politics, both from the University of the West Indies (UWI). He taught language and linguistics at the UWI from 1981 to 1983. Later, he returned to UWI to be a senior tutor in politics in the Department of Government for approximately four years. He was also a teacher at: the Palo Seco Government Secondary School, the Fyzabad Anglican Secondary School, as well as at St Hughs High School and Merle Grove High School, Kingston, Jamaica.

In 1983, Carmona was admitted to practise at the Bar of Trinidad and Tobago after training at Hugh Wooding Law School. He became a High Court judge — he is the seventh senior High Court judge — in 2004, serving in the criminal division. His tenure on the Bench has been marked by his outspokenness.

He worked at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Trinidad and Tobago, from 1983 to 2000, where he attained the posts of Assistant DPP, Deputy DPP, and also served as Acting DPP. Among his more notable cases in relation to this role are the first successful prosecution in the British Commonwealth of Senior Magistrate Patrick Jagessar for corruption and the first successful prosecution at Court of Appeal of Farouk Ali, a Justice of the Peace, for corruption.

From 2001 to 2004, Carmona held the post of Appeals Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). In this capacity, he successfully prosecuted appeals of persons convicted of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Tribunals, namely generals, camp commanders, soldiers and politicians. At the ICTY, he served as Vice-President of the Staff Union and represented UN personnel in disciplinary proceedings before the United Nations Administrative Tribunal, New York.

Long before his appointment to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Carmona served as a Legal Adviser in criminal law to President Arthur NR Robinson on issues relating to the ICC and participated in meetings of the Preparatory Committee on the establishment of the ICC.

Carmona was previously a member of the Cabinet-appointed Legislative Review Committee (representing the Office of the DPP). In this capacity, he participated in the formulating and vetting of the Criminal Procedure (Plea Agreement) Bill; Criminal Injuries Compensation Bill, Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, DNA Bill; Indictable Offences (Preliminary Enquiry) Bill, Dangerous Drugs Bill; Proceeds of Crime Bill; the Central Authority and Counter-Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Task Force Bill; Bail Act; Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, International Criminal Court Statute and all criminal legislation.

In 2000, the status of Senior Counsel (“Silk”) was conferred upon Carmona, four years before he became a judge. Judge Carmona was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago in 2004 and has been serving as a judge in the Criminal Division since then.

Carmona has advised the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on international/regional conventions and treaties. In addition, he gave service in relation to the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programme. He was appointed a one-man Disciplinary Tribunal into alleged misconduct of senior civil servants.

Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona Curriculum Vitae

An Interview with Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona

Source: Newsday, February 5 2013

Mrs. Jennifer Cassar was born on the 4th August 1951 at Malabar, Arima to Nicholasa Lara-Pile and Rawie Pile. She is the first of five children.

Her ancestral line is quite deep. She descended from the full Carib bloodline through her maternal great-great-grandparents – Jose and Annicasia Lara (nee Lopez); great-grandmother Maria Chichita Lara and grandfather Pablito Lara also called Hubert De Franc. Her paternal grandmother was also of full Amerindian blood from Guyana.

She is a member and Assistant Secretary of the Santa Rose First Peoples Carib Community and is a practicing Roman Catholic who has lived the Carib way of life through her maternal grandparents who lived a strict Carib life by being heavily involved in the Santa Rosa Festival.

Mrs. Cassar represented the Santa Rosa First Peoples Carib Community at the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama in April of 2009. In December of that year, she participated in a Seminar on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean at the Hotel Marriot, Port of Spain, Trinidad.

She has been a member of the Cabinet-Appointed Amerindian Project Committee since 2007. Mrs. Cassar has been a cultural activist for over twenty years and is a member of the Regional Carnival Committee of the National Carnival Commission with responsibility for coordinating National Stickfighting Competitions.

She joined the Public Service of Trinidad and Tobago in 1971 and has served this country for the past forty years. She has worked in several Ministries including Education, Community Development, Culture, Sports, Health and the Judiciary. She is also a certified Home Health Care Worker.

She is married to Mr. Augustin Cassar, a retired School Principal and Cadet Force Officer and is the mother of Vanessa Cassar-Blakely and John Cassar.

Her aim as Carib Queen is to fulfill the previous Carib Queen Valentina Medina’s unfulfilled wish of seeing a united flourishing indigenous community by encouraging those who are of Carib ancestry to return and become more fully involved in the community to further its development.

FORMER CARIB QUEENS

  • Valentina "Mavis" Medina (2000-2011)

  • Justa Werges (1988-2000)

  • Edith Martinez, nee Werges (1962-1987)

  • Maria Fuentes Werges Ojea (1908-1962)

  • Dolores MacDavid, nee Medrano (1875-1908)

See more about Trinidad and Tobago's First Peoples.

The information on this page is currently under review. In the interim please refer to the following websites:

Born to parents of Chinese descent in San Juan, Trinidad in 1921, Carlisle Fenwick Chang spent most of his life as an artist in Trinidad and Tobago. His first job was as a photographer in Trinidad and he later operated a photo studio in Jamaica. It was during his schooldays at Tranquility Government Boys’ School in Port of Spain that he first started painting. He began his art studies under the tutelage of Amy Leong Pang, founder of the Society of Trinidad Independents, a radical group that encouraged the development of an artistic style reflective of Caribbean society.

In 1950 Chang received a scholarship to study mural painting and ceramics at the LCC Central School of Arts and Crafts, London. This scholarship was extended to three years and was followed by another scholarship to study ceramics for one year at the Instituto Statale D’Arts per La Ceramica, Faenza in Italy. He returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1955 where he worked until his death in 2001. Chang created a dynamic career through his involvement in theatre, dance, advertising, photography, interior designing, painting, carnival, pottery, and other crafts. His myriad activities are reflected in the collection which spans the period 1948-2001.

Carlisle Chang’s art has had great impact on the Caribbean and from the 1940’s his name made headlines in art reviews and the newspapers. These early reviews mushroomed into high acclaims throughout his life and are well documented in the newspaper clippings held in the Carlisle Chang collection at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Chang, in a brief autobiography which is also available in the collection, indicates that he pioneered the use of vinylite or plastic paints in Trinidad and Tobago, a piece of trivia which has been substantiated by the exchanges he had with several paint companies and the experiment script he created for the use of the paint.

Arguably two of the most valuable gifts Chang has given to Trinidad and Tobago are the designs for the coat of arms and national flag for independence from Britain in 1962.

Chang served on eight committees charged with the responsibility for preparing the events to usher in the independence. He had the honour of chairing the National Flag and Coat of Arms Committee. Prior to this, he performed a similar task of designing the flag and arms for the failed West Indies Federation.  In the Carlisle Chang collection, documents on the two sets of designs are being preserved as part of the region’s patrimony.

Over the years, Chang was commissioned to do several public works of art. The best known of these was “The Inherent Nobility of Man”, a forty foot long and 15 foot high mural in the arrival hall of Piarco Airport, painted in 1961. Art historian Geoffrey MacLean describes it as having been “possibly the most important work of art in the Caribbean”.  The Piarco mural was demolished, to public outcry, when the airport building was extended. But many of his other murals remain, such as Conquerabia, cast in cement, outside the Port of Spain City Hall.

Chang’s engagement with the history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago is evident in his extensive resume. Selected highlights include the costume designs he produced for carnival bands from 1964-1985; his membership on the Board of the Carnival Development Committee 1966-1972; his service as a handicraft judge with the Prime Minister’s Best Village competition 1966-1984; his stewardship as President of the Trinidad Art Society 1984-89 as well as his attempts to create a viable local craft industry.

Carlisle Chang passed away in 2001. The Carlisle Chang collection was inscribed on the Trinidad and Tobago Memory of the World Register in 2010.

SOURCES:

  • The West Indiana and Special Collections, The Alma Jordan Library, The University of the West Indies

  • “Carlisle Chang” by Judy Raymond, Caribbean Beat Issue 31, May/June 1998.


OTHER RESOURCES
Mas' Pioneers: Carlisle Chang

Chen, born in 1934 in Couva, Trinidad, is a highly-acclaimed writer, artist and sculptor. After his formal education at St Mary's College, Port of Spain, Chen worked as a refinery operator at Pointe-a-Pierre until 1957. Following that, he established his own business, taking up painting as a hobby. Mainly self-taught, he has exhibited in mixed shows in Trinidad, the United Kingdom and the USA, and has held one-man shows locally.  

Over the years, Chen has written over 20 plays, and his short stories have been included in several anthologies, including the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories and McMillan Caribbean’s Under the Perfume Tree. His literary works include the short story collections King of the Carnival (1989) and Crossbones (2009).

In 1989, the Writer’s Union of Trinidad and Tobago presented Chen with the Writer of the Year Award. Chen has also won the David Hough Literary Prize, and a USA Writers of the Future Contest Award. In 2000, Chen was honoured by York University, Canada, with the title of Most Important Caribbean Writer of Chinese Origin, and in 2005 he received the San Fernando East Constituency Award for Art and Culture.

Chen was awarded the Trinidad and Tobago Hummingbird Medal (Silver) for Art and Culture in 1989 and the Trinidad and Tobago Chaconia Medal (Silver) in 2006. In 2012 he was honoured with a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award.

Arthur Andrew Cipriani was born in the year 1875. He was involved with recruiting soldiers at the outbreak of World War I and was subsequently made a captain in the British West India Regiment and left for the front in 1917. On his return to Trinidad he became a leader not just to the ex-soldiers but to labourers as well. He became known throughout Trinidad and Tobago as the champion of the barefoot man.

In November 1919, during a labour dispute on the Port-of-Spain wharves, Cipriani called on the workers to withhold their labour, and this resulted in the first important industrial strike in Trinidad. His popularity reached great heights, and, in 1921, he was elected to a seat on the City Council of Port-of-Spain. In 1923, he became President of the Trinidad Workingmen’s Association, which at that time was the Country’s leading workers’ organization. In 1925, Captain Cipriani became Mayor of Port-of-Spain, which swept him to a seat on the Legislative Council in Trinidad’s first general elections.

On the platform of the Legislative Council, he fought on such key issues as “old age” pension, women’s rights, a minimum wage and compulsory education. In 1934, he formed the Trinidad Labour Party, which was in essence the Trinidad Workingmen’s Association under a new name.

During this period he seemed to be losing favour with the masses outside of Port-of-Spain. In the year 1936, one of his chief lieutenants, Uriah Butler, left the Labour Party and formed his own British Empire Workers and Citizens Home Rule Party, in order to embrace the workers in the petroleum industry. Another of Cipriani’s close associates of the time was Adrian Cola Rienzi who also departed in the same year, 1936, to form the Trinidad Citizen’s League– a party closely connected to the sugar industry.

Cipriani always advocated constitutional methods and perhaps had a misplaced trust in what looked like the good intentions of British politicians, especially those of Britain’s Labour Party.

He retired from public life in 1944, having never lost his seat on the City Council since he had first been elected to it in 1921. His eight terms as Mayor remains a record. He passed away in the year 1945.

A statue to his memory was erected in Port-of-Spain. It was unveiled on April 17, 1959 by Chief Minister Dr. Eric Williams, who declared on the occasion: “Captain Cipriani is the pioneer of the nationalist movement of Trinidad and Tobago. With the unveiling of this statue we commemorate our own historical development, our own positive action, our own native history made by native hands, and the aspiration of our native peoples.”


Source:

  • Anthony, Michael. Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. London: The Scarecrow Press, 1997. 132, 133 - 134

Ellis Immanuel Innocent Clarke was born at the corner of Pelham and Megler Streets, Belmont, on December 28, 1917. He attended St Mary’s College, where he won an island scholarship in Mathematics. He pursued his tertiary education at London University. He was called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn, London in 1941. Mr. Clarke was married in 1952 to the former Ermyntrude Hagley, a bookkeeper from Grenada whom he met in 1949 while she visited Trinidad. They have two children, Peter and Margaret Ann.

Not long after his return to Trinidad and Tobago, Ellis Clarke was called to the Bar in his homeland, engaging in private practice from 1941-1954. Between 1954 and 1962 Ellis Clarke held several posts in the Colonial Government: Solicitor General, deputy Colonial Secretary, Attorney General and Constitutional Adviser to the Cabinet. After the attainment of Independence, Ellis Clarke became a foreign diplomat, holding numerous posts between 1962 to 1976, sometimes simultaneously, including Trinidad and Tobago’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Upon proclamation of Republican status on 24th September 1976, the post of Governor General became obsolete. Following a meeting of the Electoral College, as provided by the constitution, Ellis Clarke was elected unopposed as President, becoming the first President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, an office he held until 1987.

Ellis Clarke was involved in the draft constitution, culminating in his attendance at the Marlborough House Conference held in London from 28th May to 8th June 1962.

He was bestowed the Companion of St. Michael and St. George in 1960, and made a Knight Bachelor in 1963. He was one of the first to be awarded the country’s highest honour: the Trinity Cross in 1969. He also holds El Gran Cordon, the highest national award in Venezuela. UWI has given him an honorary doctor of laws degree.

In his legal career he showed notable ability. After 13 years of practice he was drafted into the Civil Service as Solicitor General from 1954-56, later as Deputy Colonial Secretary.

Designated as Chief Justice, Clarke never took up the post and was instead asked to be Constitutional Adviser to Cabinet from 1961. It was the period before the 1962 Independence and his were the skills that helped draft the Constitution and iron out details with the Opposition Democratic Labour Party.

After the retirement of Sir Solomon Hochoy as Governor General, Clarke by then Sir Ellis took over. He served two terms as President. This was from 1976, serving the country through the death of Eric Williams in 1981 and the defeat of the long ruling PNM in 1986.

President Clarke has excelled at being the head of state; there is little doubt of that. By his presence at functions of the various religions he has showed the way to tolerance. Sir Ellis Clarke passed away at his Maraval home on December 30, 2010.


OTHER PRESIDENTS:

Leroy Clarke: Master Artist, Poet, Lecturer, Philosopher, Leader and Orisha Elder

"Without a philosophy of its own, a nation/people has no foundation upon which to pivot.This is critical. Our quest now has to be one of essence; to inhabit ourselves, registering complete faith in our own possibilities, rendering unto ourselves that which is only ours and inherent, and without which, we are idle and rudderless in the wide and open season of the world…"  Leroy Clarke.

Leroy Clarke was born in Gonzales, Belmont, Port of Spain, on November 07, 1938. As a young man he was actively involved in the local theatre and utilised his artistic talents to draw, paint, sing and act. And so it was that this early period of his life culminated in the holding of his first one-man exhibition, titled "A Labour of Love" in Trinidad in 1966. He also participated in the biennial exhibition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1966 and Expo '67 in Montreal, Canada. Self-taught as an artist, he left for the United States in 1966 to further his experience in that field. Clarke has painted professionally since 1969. He was the first artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem from 1969 to 1975, and has had numerous exhibitions throughout North and South America as well as in the Caribbean.

Fuelled by the philosophy of the Black Power Movement of the 60’s and 70’s, Clarke sought to provide a validity and integrity to the strong cultural, political and social associations between Trinidad and Tobago and Africa through his powerful images. Edward S. Spriggs, Executive Director of Hammonds House Galleries and Resource Center in Atlanta, Georgia, has made this observation about Clarke's work:

"Clarke is a surrealist in the tradition of Cuba's Wilfredo Lam and Chile's Roberto Sebastian Matta. His visual repertoire explores that great boundless terrain where the real and the super-real are interlaced. It is a two-sided terrain that retraces the triangle of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

As Lam's fascination was with African-derived spiritual tradition in Cuba, and Matta's focus was on totems and masks of the New Ireland region of Papua, New Guinea, Clarke makes use of the spiritual and mythological incarnations of his native island of Trinidad. He works to reshape and heal the psyche of his fellow islander whom he views as being trapped in the magnetism of materialism and narrow individual interests at the detriment of cultural liberation and Caribbean development. For him, the predicament of his beloved Trinidad is a microcosm of the predicament of neo-colonials everywhere."

Leroy Clarke is one of only two artists, the other being the Sculptor Dr. Raph Baney, who has been named ‘Master Artist’ by the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago. He was also awarded the title ‘Chief Ifa’ Oje’ Won Yomi Abiodun’ by the Orisha Community.

Learie Nicholas Constantine was born on 21 September 1901. He was a West Indian cricketer and toured England with the West Indies team in the 1923 and 1928 tours of England. After the 1928 tour he secured a professional contract with the Lancashire League, Club Nelson and played with the club between 1929 and 1938. In 1939, he was chosen as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year.

After working during the Second World War for the Ministry of Labour and National Service as a Welfare Officer in Britain, Constantine qualified as a barrister in 1954, while also establishing himself as a journalist and broadcaster.

He returned to Trinidad in 1954, entered politics and became a founding member of the People's National Movement (PNM) , subsequently entering the Trinidad and Tobago government as Minister of Communications. In 1961 he returned to England as Trinidad and Tobago's High Commissioner and became the UK's first black peer, serving until 1964. He was knighted in 1962 and made a life peer in 1969.

Sir Constantine died of a heart attack on 1 July 1971.


Source:

  • Heritage Library Division, National Library and Information Systems Authority

Hasley Crawford was born August 16, 1950, and made his international debut at the 1970 Central American and Caribbean Games in Panama City, Panama, where he made it to the 100 metres final. Later that same year, he went on to win bronze in the 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1972, Crawford shocked the athletic world by making the final eight in the 100 metres Olympic final. Injury, however, prevented him from winning a medal for his country.

In 1975 he won Trinidad's only silver medal of the Pan American Games in Mexico City, Mexico. The following year, history was created when he won Trinidad and Tobago's first gold medal at the Olympic Games, in Montreal, Canada.

In 1978 he was a member of the team that won a gold medal in the 4x100 metres relay at the Central American and Caribbean Games held in Medelline, Colombia. That same year, he won a Commonwealth Games 100-metre bronze medal in Edmonton, Canada. Crawford became the third Trinidadian to compete in three Olympic games and the only one to attend four, as he went on to Moscow and Los Angeles in 1980 and 1984.

See more information on Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic medalists